How do you feel about secrets being discovered during beta?
World of Warcraft has changed a lot over the years. Most of this, not surprisingly, is due to the game itself. Classes, mechanics, features, you name it — the world of Azeroth in 2018 is barely recognizable from the one back in 2004. But it’s not just the game itself that has changed. The way we acquire, consume, and spread information has also changed in a similarly night-and-day manner.
A major part of this is due to the increasing prevalence of datamining. It’s very hard for developers to add anything to the game without it being datamined. Granted, more recently, they’ve gotten better at keeping how to acquire things under wraps. You might see the Lucid Nightmare mount in the files, but that tells you nothing about how you actually acquire it. But still, there are few things left to be truly discovered unless you keep yourself off WoW-based social media.
A good example of this is the recently discovered Wicker Pup battle pet. Keen players hunted down all four objects required to form this battle pet, and the news only spread from there. It’s not exactly the most elaborate of secrets — especially not with the things Jeremy “Muffinus” Feasel has been adding to the game as of late — but it’s still a semi-hidden thing being discovered.
Which is totally fine, in and of itself. But it’s a semi-hidden thing that’s been discovered two months before the expansion has even launched. Given the fact that I’d probably end up looking it up anyhow, I can’t say I have a rational complaint here. And yet, something about discovering anything “secret” before release feels… off somehow. I honestly wish there were a way to keep all sorts of secrets out of the game and out of files until after launch, that way, even small stuff like the Wicker Pup could be left a surprise.
Perhaps I’m just being an old curmudgeon, thinking back to how the game was a long time ago. Which is all the more reason I’d love to hear your opinions here. Do you like having “secret” content in the beta? Is there a line for what’s worth hiding and what’s okay to reveal? And if you’re against it (but also reading this), how do you go about avoiding spoilers? Let me know below!
Oh, and to be clear: None of this is a slight against Wowhead, MMO-Champion, or any of the other datamining sites/secret-hunting communities out there. Without them, I wouldn’t have a job! Rather, it’s an observation on how the changing landscape of the world outside the game has affected the game itself.
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